Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What...Is Wrong With Us?

Have you ever stopped during your crazy day, 
sat very still, 
tilted your head to one side 
and thought, 

"What kind of world am I living in?"

Last week I thought back to growing up in the 80's - 90's and how my research techniques were much different then. 
I used to find the step stool, go to the bookcase and run my fingers down the green and gold volumes until I found the letter I was searching for. 
The most frustrating part of the process was the wild goose chase that could soon ensue. 
Very often, my spelling abilities, or lack there of, would extend this adventure. 


Twenty years later and that wild goose chase is easily cut short by the Internet, which apparently already knows what I'm going to ask before I make my sixth stroke on the keyboard.
Last Thursday I typed one word in the Google search box and it hit me: 
We're living in a strange, scary state of affairs. 

That's right, world. 
'What does the fox say' was the most popular question asked on Google. 


Why are these the questions that occupy our minds?
Why do we care?
Here's why we should be concerned as a culture:

What does the fox say?
Who cares what the fox says?
Did anyone else watch that video and think, They do this for a living? What a dreadful calling...
When you're not a 4-year-old and the sound a fox makes is intriguing, you need to revaluate. Everything.
So what does the fox say, you ask?
Hell, I don't know. Can't we just consider it the silent observer of the animal kingdom and move on? It has the ability to observe, but not speak - I bet it's far smarter than the yappy dog down the street!

What is twerking?
Unfortunately, twerking is the closest thing to "werk" some Americans will ever do.
What is really worrisome is the number of online tutorials for this "dance". 
Double that worry and we will find how many people have watched the tutorial. 
Take 80% of that same number and you'll find how many girls under the age of 18 have viewed it. 
I'm terrible at math and I can even develop this conclusion:
Look out, America - these are the mothers of the next generation. 
You must be so proud. 


What Would I Say? 
I had to google this one. 
This is a Facebook app that generates whimsical statuses.
Yup. 
That's right. 
Folks all over America are relying on a computerized app to not only think for them (because, let's face it, you were never that funny), but also post it on social media so you look like the most 
1) insightful 
2) broken - but stronger now
3) witty person in the Facebook feed
to people whom you haven't seen in 8 years. Or met, ever, in your life. 
I'm sorry that you don't have enough self confidence to think or speak for yourself. 
I'd like to take that one up with your dad.
Fathers teach us confidence, mothers teach us compassion.
But learn how to twerk and you just might be going places...

And finally, America asks,
What is Obamacare?
Well...
As far as I know, its the only thing besides a stool sample that you have to pass to find out whats in it. 


I invite you - right now - to start devoting your learning - and teaching - to things that will benefit current or proceeding generations. When the above are the most popular questions our culture is seeking answers to, legitimate concern should arise with the direction we're going.
There is so much more to life.

In fact, what happened to the questions that matter?
  • Why do I get more car sick in the back seat?
  • Why do I only find coupons in my car three days after they've expired?
  • Why are the last 5 pounds the hardest to lose?
  • Why do your fingers and toes wrinkle if left in water too long?
  • Who killed JR?
  • Why does it take 15 years to use one jar of Vaseline?
Until these questions are answered, I refuse to let a red varmint with a bushy tail occupy any more of my life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Twelve Mares and a Gelding

Welp, safe to say the honeymoon is over. 




One day not long ago, Cody and I gathered crowbars and dust masks after church and headed to the great unknown. 
Nope. 
Not Alaska, again. 
Our new (old) house. 

We knew what we bought. 
We knew what we wanted for our home. 
We (kind of?) knew how to get there. 
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. 

I guess...I may have had an inkling?
Growing up, Dad called this "building character" - we called it tearing down the very house we lived in with tools we could barely lift. 
It's where we learned how to play 52-pick-up. 
And also extract nails from one another's shoes without telling Momma. 



Fast forward 25 years and I realized that love makes one do funny things, like repeat history. 


video

Once we ripped through the dreaded plaster and lath (several days later), we found the old frame of the the home that we've already grown to love. Round pegs and all. 









It's all fun and games until you have to restore these puppies. 

Three walls down in this old homestead, 
we found more horse hair than a barn housing twelve mares and a gelding. 
Like, more than the Quarter Horse Congress. 
Just, a lot of horse hair. 
Trapped in the Dirt Devil filter.

I'm no stranger to the horsehair 
I'm a friend of sheet rock
Friend, is it any wonder plaster chokes me
I've fought the Dirt Devil
Got down on it's level
But I never gave in, so it blew up on me
I'm no stranger to the 
horsehair

Nearly a week after re-writing Whitley's classic during deconstruction time, the work got a bit less meticulous and the urge to put a FOR SALE sign in the yard drifted into the wind. Along with approximately 200 lbs. of ancient insulation. 


Friends and family alike were kind enough to comment about how much they enjoyed seeing the interior of our home throw up on our front yard. What can we say? We've never been great at landscaping and the guts had to go somewhere. 

As I type this, the ancient rafters have been coupled with new to stand the test of time for the next 100 years. 
Same with the electric, insulation and windows.






Using heavy duty tools to demolish the very thing you've spent your combined life savings on has been a great teacher in early marriage
I've learned you can't can't kiss in dust masks and strangely, while wearing those masks, you have absolutely no desire to. 
I've learned a whole new vocabulary from Cody. 
And he's learned of a side of me I'm fairly certain he prayed he'd never encounter. 
Can't always get what you want, cowboy. 

You think I wanted to purchase an old fixer-upper and invest every last dime and second of free time into it?

You're right - It's Genetic

Until next time, a preview of our progress:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reebok Reba

After my jaw dropped at one of her outrageous - but true - stories, my friend Sammy once told me, "I'm telling you Lindsay, I live in a sitcom." She went on to look at the menu, eyebrows raised. "My life...it's a sitcom." 
I completely believed her comparison but laughed aloud at it. Looking at her like a dog looks at a high pitched sound, I thought to myself: Her life soundtrack deserves a studio audience. 

But yesterday I drove back to the office and laughed to myself, thinking of Sammy...

I think I live in a sitcom, too? 
Nope, my conscious slapped me in the face, per usual. 
Sitcoms make money. You just live in Small Town, America. 

I went to a local printing/shipping store to pick up a work project. I thought that by waiting until 1:30 I would avoid the crazy folks who run these types of errands over their lunch hour; you know, people like me. 

I had already learned my lesson at the Social Security office
False. 
The line was just as long and the people there were just as blog-worthy. 

I was fourth in line. There was a woman at the counter with a small box she wanted shipped overseas. She was probably 52. But the years hadn't treated her well. Nor had the cigarettes. She looked about 70. 


She had dyed redish-auburn hair with 2-inch grey roots making their presence quite known. Her hair was coarse and big and jacked up to Jesus. Made me appreciate her a bit. Also made me think of 1990 Reba in a weird way. She wore a red Looney Tunes sweatshirt with her jeans and white Reebok shoes. She was a real life Reebok Reba. Those are the things I vaguely remember. What really stands out in my mind - so much that I dreamt about it last night - was her teeth. 

Or lack there of. 

The gal wore dentures that she kept flipping in and out. With her tongue. Kind of like the way we did while doing homework the first week we had our retainer in junior high. 

I know I'm not the only one who did that. 
It passed the time. 
It was done consciously.
It was loud. 
It was disgusting. 

Her teeth kept slopping in and out with this wet sound that made me want to throw up on the guy in front of me. I put my hands in my coat pocket, clenched fists, looking down.   


The gal behind the counter said, "OK, ma'am. To get that to Beijing it will be $66.53." 

Wrong answer, FedEx Fannie. 

Reebok Reba proceeded to blow her top. I closed my eyes and kept my head down. I clinched my jaw for the young gal working the register. There was friction.


As soon as I got in my car I sent Cody the following HeyTell reciting Reebok Reba's monolog, without the smokey ashes. 
He gets these monologues a lot; they're accounts of my day.  
Aren't you glad you didn't have to marry me?
Better yet, aren't you glad you didn't marry into Reebok Reba's family?

   

When Reebok Reba finally shut up and I left the store, my mind drifted to more important things:

What is in that package?!
How long has "he" been sending packages to women over seas who don't exist?!
Who is "he"?!
Son?!
Brother?!
Nephew?!
How much money have they wasted on overseas scams?
Who seeks women from West Virginia??

I awaited Cody's response to my HeyTell while driving back to the office, in awe of the way some folks live. 

Let this reenactment be a lesson to each of you, far and wide. 

1. Ensure your efforts are concentrated towards what is important. 
Enjoying your work. 
Being a positive influence.
Raising a family. 
Making a difference.
If your efforts are concentrated on shipping unknown gifts to unknown recipients, you're doing something wrong. 

2. Be nice to people. Read this. 



3. Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you twice, shame on you. Fool you three times: REALLY??

4. Sammy: Let's have dinner soon. Conversations with you give me hope. And content. 

5. If you're dating a Beijing princess who needs gifts wired to her in order to save her dynasty, there is a really great chance the Beijing Princess on the other end of the line is a 57-year-old-man in Arizona looking for a thrill. 

6. In life, love and shipping: Do Your Homework. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

MISSING!!

Something has gone missing. 

I would send out an Amber Alert but it's 392 years old (according to Wikipedia - yep, I went there).

I would send out a Silver Alert but it didn't wander on it's own out of confusion. 
I would put it on a milk carton but I haven't seen milk in a carton for years and it's a tick early for egg nog. 
Unfortunately. 

Somehow, sometime, somewhere, we ungrateful (I'm typing generally) Americans have misplaced one of the greatest ideals we've ever been fortunate to know:

Thanksgiving


Several years ago (circa 2009), Thanksgiving was a holiday where we showed gratitude and thankfulness for the many things that had been afforded to us. 


Our freedom (what the heck happened to that, by the way?)

Our health.
Our jobs. 
Our ability to live the American dream and define it how ever we choose.
Our family. 
Our mentors.
A spread of food that made us want to throw up right around 1:00 PM.
College football.
The awful invention known as stretch jeans. That hang down to your knees after three sit-downs or a car ride that is longer than 17 minutes. 

Sadly, Thanksgiving today seems so trivial and commercialized. Because of Thanksgiving, when I log onto Facebook, I see "friends" declaring one thing they're thankful for during the month of November. Keep in mind, these are the same "friends" who complain daily about 

1) Daylight savings time
2) Co-workers
3) Their kids
4) Spouses/girlfriends/baby daddy 
5) Politics
6) Facebook privacy 
7) Illness
8) The weather
9) The price of gas
10) THINGS THEY CANNOT CHANGE

But, alas, in November they're the most grateful people you'll ever meet/accept friendships with. News for you, I'm-Only-Thankful-In-November-Because-It's-A-Social-Media-Trend-People, Jesus does not have Facebook. Santa doesn't even know what that is. They judge you by your actions when you're not logged on. When you're naughty and when you're nice: Selfies included. 


Growing up, Thanksgiving was a holiday where Dad would actually slow down. Not Christmas. Not Easter. Not the 4th of July. But on Thanksgiving he'd (kind of?) give us a break to appreciate one another. He would look us in the eye while telling us he's thankful for our health. He'd go to Grandma's. He'd ask for seconds. We'd all watch our beloved Steelers


I fear that the general public views Thanksgiving as none other as the day before Black Friday. And that kind of makes me want to throw up. And not because dressing rooms give me panic attacks. 




Americans have completely bypassed the beautiful virtue of Thanksgiving Day and instead taken advantage of a discount off of electronics made in a country that I cannot locate on a map. Or spell. Or pronounce. 

I learned yesterday that for the first time in 155 years, Macy's will be open for business on Thanksgiving. Just hours after Santa Claus passes through the historic Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, they will open their doors to consumers. Immediately after I heard that news, I was furious. How dare Macy's conform to this shopping-saturated standard we've created? But then I remembered: If there wasn't a market for sales on this day, Macy's wouldn't pay employees to work on this holiday. 


Do you get it??


We - the consumers - have ruined Thanksgiving. You see, for a large percentage of Americans, Thanksgiving is nothing more than a Get-A-Deal-On-Something-I-Don't-Need-Day. The Black Friday Enthusiasts and Wake-at-4AM- Shopping-Junkies: They're the reason Thanksgiving is no longer appreciated for the very simple origination of it's meaning. 

And even if you reflect negatively on the Pilgrams and Puritans who migrated from England in the 1620's to settle this American Dream, I'm confident that somewhere in your bloodline you have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Even if it is eggnog. Not judging.  



This November, I urge you to remember what this holiday is about. 
It isn't being the first in line to buy something for your son who doesn't need anything but a swift kick...you know where. 
It isn't yoga pants and pumpkin spiced lattes.
It isn't the over/under on college football. 
For my beloved Shafer family - it isn't about being the first in line for Abby's dessert. 

This month (as well as the other eleven!) be genuinely be thankful for the amazing things you have in your life. 
The people. 
The places. 
The things. 
The jeans that fit. 
The heifers that breed. 
The Moms that write letters. 
The friends that never left. Ever. 
The grades that reflect your effort. 
The money that transferred just in time.
The little occurrences during the day that make you smile. 
The cousin who got a really positive report from the oncologist.
The undeniable passion that lies within you that keeps you awake.

Remember this: 
Thanksgiving is a perfect time to give thanks for all everything you have, not necessarily build your weekend around all the things on sale. 
And it is even a perfect time to give thanks for all things you don't have. Those things, in fact, have shaped your character. And this idea reaches far beyond November. 

For instance: 
I'm thankful that we don't have one dishwasher. Instead, we have two: left hand, right hand. 
That was a horrible example. 

This year, remember that it doesn't take dates on the calendar to make you appreciate all that is around you. 
You are fortunate to live in America. 
And it is your responsibility to build thankfulness from that.